Tag Archives: child mental health

7 February 2024 – the overnight press release

Government has neglected children’s mental health for too long

Responding to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’s report on children’s mental health, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This devastating explosion of mental ill health among children should be a wake-up call for the government.

Conservative ministers have neglected children’s mental health during and after the pandemic, leaving mental health services and families in crisis.

We have seen a litany of broken promises from this government including the failure to deliver maximum waiting times for children, ending out of area placements or reforming the Mental Health Act.

The Liberal

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9 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Mental Health: Shocking stats show Govt are failing young people
  • Vennells CBE: Now Dowden needs to explain why he failed to sack her as a Cabinet Office Director
  • Surrey oil drilling given go-ahead: A shameful decision. Local MP, Jeremy Hunt must intervene

Mental Health: Shocking stats show Govt are failing young people

Ahead of Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson’s Bill to introduce mental health professionals into schools, statistics show that 61% of those waiting for mental health support had stopped attending school, college, university, or work.

  • 58% missed more than two weeks of school, 42% missed more than a month and 20% missed more than six months
  • A fifth of young people wait more than six months for help. While waiting, 41% said that their mental health got worse

These statistics show the catastrophic impact the lack of mental health provision is having on young people’s lives in both schools and in the workplace, leaving over half unable to attend.

In response, the Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP will be introducing a bill to the Commons today which intends to give all state schools access to a qualified mental health professional.

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9 June 2023 – today’s press release

  • HMICFRS report shows need for return to community policing
  • Softened windfall tax shows Government doesn’t care
  • Government’s mental health plans leave children in 3 in 4 primary schools without NHS support
  • Johnson Honours: Sunak’s so called integrity has been broken
  • Boris Johnson: “Good riddance”

HMICFRS report shows need for return to community policing

Responding to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) State of Policing report, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP:

Sadly, this report confirms what we already knew. The Conservatives have trashed our justice system, from decimating frontline policing to ignoring the courts backlog.

Too many people feel like justice is out of reach when they’re a victim of a crime. Public trust in our very institutions is at stake. The Home Secretary must commit to a return to community policing without delay.

Softened windfall tax shows Government doesn’t care

Responding to the news that Jeremy Hunt will soften the energy windfall, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

The families and businesses still suffering so much from high energy bills will not forget the failure of the Conservatives to tax the windfall profits of the oil and gas companies properly.

This out of touch Government has shown yet again that it doesn’t care about people struggling just to get by, or the small business clinging on.

This energy tax failure ranks as one of Rishi Sunak’s biggest personal failures as Chancellor and Prime Minister.

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Mental health support for children neglected by Government

Some years ago Norman Lamb effectively led the Lib Dem campaign to give mental health equal parity with physical health in the NHS. This did lead to some welcome changes in both attitude and provision, including the creation of new Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges in England, which were set up in 2018.  Each MHST would cover some 8000 pupils, and the plan envisioned 500 teams in place by the end of 2024, to cover about half of all pupils.

The MHSTs were a welcome addition to the existing acute Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, offering early support and, hopefully, preventing the escalation of problems to the point where a referral to CAMHs would be necessary.

Then Covid struck, and lockdown is known to have had a marked effect on the nation’s mental health, particularly in children, whose normal processes of growing up were substantially interrupted. Sadly, it also slowed down the rollout of the MHSTs.

Munira Wilson, our health spokesperson, has carried on the campaign for children’s mental health provision and has been gaining some traction. In today’s Guardian she reports on research by the Liberal Democrats that reveals the inadequate state of mental health support in schools.

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Budget 2021: Young people’s mental health missed

The Chancellor has given his Autumn Statement setting out the Conservative government’s spending priorities for the next year. Mental health care services, however, have been short changed and neglected once again.

The Government’s own budget research states that “Mental health and wellbeing have suffered during lockdowns, and anxiety and depression levels are now consistently higher than pre-pandemic averages”. Despite this, the Chancellor made no reference to mental health support in his speech and no new money for mental health services, let alone extra money to tackle the mental health crisis facing children and young people.

Hundreds of thousands of young people today are struggling with their mental health and far too often they cannot access support when they need it. Latest data from the NHS suggests that one in six young people now has a probable mental health disorder, up from one in nine in 2017. In a survey for YoungMinds in 2019, three-quarters of young people said they could not find support when they first needed it.

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10 January 2020 – the overnight press releases

  • Govt must stop young people falling prey to ‘county lines’ gangs
  • Tories failing children’s mental health

Govt must stop young people falling prey to ‘county lines’ gangs

Responding to a report released today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services into ‘county lines’ gangs, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

When children as young as 12 are being exploited by drug gangs, the Government’s approach clearly needs to change. We need to stop both the supply and demand of illegal hard drugs.

Unnecessary Tory cuts to the police have made it easier for organised criminal networks to spread. Cuts to

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4 April 2019 – today’s press releases (part 2)

And, in part two…

  • Lib Dems call for mental health support to be included in Ofsted Inspections
  • Moran: SEND funding crisis a moral failure of Government
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Embrace Green Tech to Tackle Climate Change
  • Lib Dems lead Eating Disorder Campaign in Parliament

Lib Dems call for mental health support to be included in Ofsted Inspections

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Chief Inspector of Ofsted to urge her to include assessments of mental health support in schools in Ofsted Inspections.

The Liberal Democrat lead on Mental Health, Claire Tyler, has written to the Chief Inspector as the new draft Ofsted framework does …

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Today is Young Carers Awareness Day

How many of you know a young carer?

Today we are celebrating the contributions many of our young people make as carers. It is Young Carers Awareness Day.

Caring can take many forms – a sibling caring for another sibling with a learning disability, a child looking after a parent, a young person helping aid a grandparent.

The world of care is diverse and often misunderstood, and many of our young carers are overlooked. They are balancing their care responsibilities with school work and sometimes have little time left over.

One issue I wanted to explore here is the symbiotic value of care. Yes, young carers are taking time to look after their relative, but what do they get in return? Not pay, in most cases. But they do get relationship.

Spending time together, in a care situation, creates an intimacy not found elsewhere. The relationship that develops can be deeper than it would have been without the aspect of care. The dimensions giving and receiving care adds to a relationship are profound.

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Children’s mental health – the Government is not getting it right

I’m following up my post from February on children’s mental health and the Government’s Green Paper on the issue.  Yesterday, the Education Committee and Health & Social Care Committee issued a joint statement saying that

The Government’s proposed Green Paper on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health lacks ambition and will provide no help to the majority of those children who desperately need it.

Having three teenage girls, this rams home. The girls tell me of the myriad of mental health issues going on around them – peers self-harming; experiencing psychosis; anorexia; depression; anxiety; the list goes on. This is their world, it is our world, and we are failing our young people.

The Government is rolling out Trailblazer pilot schemes, but it is too little and not being done quickly enough. Hundreds of thousands of children are missing out on the help they need now. I recently spoke with someone who works in CAMHS and she lamented the lack of provision locally for the girls she was working with. Staff know the pressures, parents are living with the pressures, young people are suffering needlessly.

The need for more resource in schools to support young people was highlighted, with the report saying existing CAMHS staff could not do any more than they are already doing. People are stretched to capacity.

Participants in the workshops highlighted exam pressure as being a major cause of mental ill-health. The report suggests the Government needs to commission a study on the effect of our exam-based system on mental health.

Young people excluded from school are far more prone to mental ill-health, but the Green Paper does not address this issue. How can we better meet the needs of these young people?

A major worry for many parents is the transition from children’s to adult mental health services. It is not happening. Young people are falling through the gaps and not receiving the services they need as they enter adulthood. Currently, young people transition at 18, but the report suggests that 25 would be a more appropriate age. What is scary is that seemingly a third of young people drop out of mental health care when they turn 18 and don’t make the transfer to adult services.

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#timetotalk – Supporting Children’s Mental Health

Today is Time To Talk Day – a day to talk about mental health with friends, family and colleagues. Time to Change organises #timetotalk on the first Thursday in February each year. Lib Dem Voice would love to have your stories and thoughts on mental health – please send them in and we will post as many as possible.

I will start with a post on children and mental health – we most likely won’t get any submissions from children today, but to me, getting children’s mental health care right is paramount.

Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24.” And the alarming statistics continue. “Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age.” Unless we get mental health care right during childhood, we are condemning many to a lifetime of mental ill-health.

Early diagnosis and treatment can change lives. If proper help and support are given to children when they first exhibit signs of mental ill-health, long-term prognosis improves dramatically.

There is currently a government inquiry on a green paper on this subject: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision. It is being overseen by both the Parliamentary Health and Education Select Committees:

The Education and Health Select Committees recognise that the provision of mental health services to children and young people is of vital importance to safeguarding their wellbeing. Good mental health is not only of great value in itself, but it allows young people to take greater advantage of educational opportunities.

In light of the publication of the Government’s green paper on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision, the House of Commons Select Committees on Health and Education have agreed to launch a joint inquiry to scrutinise the proposed scope and implementation of the green paper, and to follow up on their previous recommendations.

A huge amount of evidence was published on Tuesday with links here.

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The January Blues: Depression

The still, dark days of January are often associated with heightened levels of depression. Actually, depression is omnipresent.

The charity Mind details depression as ranging from mild to moderate to severe. They list some types of depression:

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)– depression that usually (but not always) occurs in the winter.
  • Dysthymia– continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more.
  • Prenatal depression– it occurs during pregnancy.
  • Postnatal depression (PND)– occurs in the weeks and months after becoming a parent. Postnatal depression is usually diagnosed in women but it can affect men, too.

Depression can have many causes, but some are the stresses caused by lack of provision. For these, there are political solutions. For example,

  • Homelessness and lack of affordable housing can be highly stressful and lead to depression.
  • Not having enough money for bills and struggling on low pay can lead to depression.

Party policy should not focus on the economics of a policy argument, but rather on wellbeing. What can we do to create a healthy, fair and equal society? Those policies would lead to a more mentally-fit population. Someone who has food on the table and a place to sleep, with no worries about how the next month’s bills are going to be paid, is far less likely to be stressed and potentially depressed.

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Paul Burstow writes … we must pay greater attention to the mental health needs of children

The recent report from the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, on children’s health makes for sobering reading. Together with warnings about a lack of physical activity, and vitamin deficiencies, the need to pay greater attention to the mental health of our children and young people came out painfully clearly.

Current estimates put the annual costs of mental health problems among children aged 5-15 at around £2.35 billion across the UK. Yet only around one in four children are receiving help from specialist services within 3 years, and, as the report’s atlas of variation reveals, access may be most …

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